Social media can do a lot for your brand. In 2020, there were over 3.6 billion social media users worldwide. There is no question that you can reach a lot of people through social media. The real challenge is how you can command their attention. What does it take to go viral?
Last March, I woke up to a surprise. Two of my posts had gone viral on LI. I wrote both of them on a whim. I wrote both of them 100% instinctually, with very little thinking or planning. Neither of them were edited.
The thing with social media is that we can easily try to make each post perfect. We can use filters or photo editing apps to make our photos look flawless. We can think about what to say a number of times before posting it. We can revise it if we think it ain’t good enough. But sometimes all it takes to capture the attention of people is to keep it real.
I chewed my own dog food big time. It was a pretty good reminder for me. What made these unstructured posts so successful was that they didn’t fit the mold. They were unprofessional.
After extensive reflection, my team and I pulled together the top 3 things we learned from this experience and yes, you can do it, too!
Here are valuable lessons I’ve learned from two raw and unfiltered viral posts:
1) People crave realness.
Actually, they’re yearning for it. In a world, where trust is plummeting and no one knows what the heck to believe, being real IS a strategy. Being natural, yourself, authentic—or whatever word you prefer—is smarter than being templated and full of corporate jargon. Once you are yourself, you give permission for others to be themselves. We want to be ourselves and be accepted for who we are so freaking bad.
The pandemic has also fueled this yearning for realness. In fact, according to Business Insider, there’s been a shift toward raw, uncut and real content. And it’s not just because of the limitations set on content creation due to safety protocols and the budgetary constraints in business because of the pandemic. It also has to do with consumers being more interested in content that helps them with their new daily routines and that they can relate to.
Even before the pandemic, being genuine has played an important role in connecting with consumers. They are seeking authentic experiences and they are smarter than ever. They can see through fakeness and are holding brands accountable for their content.
Humanizing your brand, communicating honestly and creating authentic content can make you connect with your customers at a deeper level and forge brand loyalty. Moreover, for consumers, there’s a sense of gratification in knowing that the brands they choose to support are genuine and authentic.
2) We need to throw away the idea of being “perfect.”
My two posts that went viral weren’t perfect; they were from my heart. ❤️ They were raw, unedited, vulnerable and a little controversial. They didn’t follow any template or science of what makes a post viral, but they were real and honest. Perfection leaves no space for humanness and vulnerability, whereas honesty is vital in creating real connections.
The need to please others often keeps us desiring to create “perfect” for others, when in fact, everyone just wishes we would all embrace more of our imperfections. It’s futile to get obsessed over perfection when in reality no matter how good you are you cannot please everyone. You do not have to be perfect to excel in what you do and to be appreciated. You do not have to win everyone. You just have to win the right crowd and get them to be loyal to you.
Perfection is subjective. Everyone has different ways of defining it. But realness is realness. Keeping it real will make your brand stand out especially in this digital era where consumers are bombarded with so much information and have a lot of options to choose from.
3) Sometimes the hardest posts turn out to be the best ones.
Every post isn’t going to be viral. After two within days of each other, it seemed like everything after that was going to go HUGE. But that isn’t how it works unfortunately. ? Take a deep breath and congratulate yourself for taking the leap. Focus back on who you’re helping and more will come.
There is no formula that can guarantee a post to be viral. But it’s good to know that you can just be your flawed self and be viral.
The point is…
When you show up as your full self, that’s when you’ll attract the same energy you’re looking for. Just by putting yourself out there—being bold, saying what’s on your mind or posting a picture without edits—you inspire others to do the same.
People will notice who’s being themselves and who seems too scripted or perfect. We’ll always gravitate towards the people who are real and relatable.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Queen B herself:
“Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.”
For your weekly dose of realness, join the UNprofessional community and listen to our new podcast episode on Thursday. Our guest this week is Bianca Stringuini, Head of People Experience & Engagement at KPMG and one of my friends from the time I spent abroad in Singapore.
Come with us on our journey to make work more HUMAN.
In love and respect,
Hilary M. Corna